1992 Cagiva - Elefant - Lucky Explorer

Wow, have I learned a lot since picking up this bike at
Cagiva in Philadelphia.  Purchased from a former
employee of Cagiva the bike stored at CagivaUSA for
almost 3 years.

If you have gotten to this page you have probably figured out
I am a Ducati nut.  There is nothing similar or regular about
this bike and the way it was assembled compared to
another Ducati of the era.  Cagiva / Ducati built this bike to
homoligate the model for off road racing and every detail is
thought out and different from any Ducati I have ever laid
eyes on.

This model is the first Ducati to use with the Weber Fuel
Injection system and was introduced months prior to the
Paso 907ie.  The bottom end is a 888 (water cooled) type
and the top end 900SS (air cooled).  The transmission is a
closely geared 5 speed for off road use rather than the on
road standard 6 speed of the era.

After changing the oil, draining the fuel and installing the
new battery I realized after a few cranks of the starter motor
the fuel pump was no longer making noise.  Thanks to
Marco's quick internet research he realized the fuel pump
was the same as used in a 1990's Ford Mustang (with a
little modification) ... off to the parts store we went and sure
enough they had the part.  Not bad for finding a fuel pump to
a 16 year old Ducati, less than 10 miles from home and on
a Sunday.  After installing the new fuel pump the bike fired
almost immediately.  How strange (old school) that fuel
injection should have a choke.

One quick ride in the dark in 39 degree weather made me
realize what an incredible motorcycle I have found ... even
without pushing.

The bikes height is a bit of a challenge as the seat is wide
and at a 36" height I am on the balls of my feet, even at
5'11".  The ergonomics are incredible, the Corbin seat is
very comfortable and the windscreen provides wonderful

Lots more to come ...

Taken from the internet ... The Duck's Guts

Oh yeah! This one does it for me. The elefant is such a poor
choice for a model name. Every time I get aboard, this bike
just shouts: "I am the lightest bike in the capacity class".
Here is a bike that could be brilliant, which is handicapped
by being set up for the Dakar, by that I mean it steers, rather
than auto-pilots around corners - which is probably great for
deep sand. Ah, the BMW has spoilt me forever! The big
white elefant provides good rear suspension thanks to a
single Ohlins unit, and mediocre front suspension thanks
to Marzocchi - you take a buffetting through the handlebars
on the rough stuff, but praise the stiffness on the fast road
bits. Everyone who copes with a big modern dirt bike likes
the Cagiva, despite its age. It feels nimble. The only
problem that shows up occasionally in windy weather is the
bikes capacity to act as a sail, and jump the front around.

After riding the Guzzi "tractors", the engine took a bit of
getting used to because it needs to be revved to work
properly. It has been perfect, and can see 180 kph, but I am
tempted to gear the bike up, as it obviously can do better.

The motor sounds good, and even though it doesn't have
blitzing power on the road, the 65 HP seems plenty when
that back wheel is sending up rooster tails in the dirt. I have
fitted a floating Brembo cast iron disc and braided line and
a Staintune muffler. Changing these items got big
improvements, and luckily the Explorer doesn't punch holes
in the Staintune with its rear brake caliper bleed nipple.

P.S. - weighed in at 221 KG with full fuel tank

In 1990 followed the introduction of what many would
describe as the ultimate Elefant: the 900ie. This was newly
developed from scratch, not only having gotten a completely
new design, but also under her skin a comlete evolution
had taken place. The Pantah engine was traded for a
reworked version of the 900SS engine, and fuel delivery
and ignition were now under direction of a high spec Weber-
Marelli fuel injection system. This was the same system
that was used on supersportive cars of that era like the
Ford Sierra Cosworth and the Lancia Delta HF Integrale.
This all resulted in a –specially for that time- very fast all
road with a top speed of 200 km/h that, due to its relative
low weight, long suspension travel and elastic engine
character, also was quite capable on unpaved roads. Even
these days there are only a few bikes that can match the
qualities of the Elefant. There, where road capabilities,
power or comfort have gained, this almost always has
compromised weight and a deterioration of all road

The 900ie was equipped with the colors of its rallye sister:
the well known Lucky Explorer design.

Elefant Information Page

Link to Fuel Injection information

Elefant Club of the Netherlands

Elefant Model History            

History of the Lucky Explorer in Racing

YouTube - Cagiva Lucky Explorer & V593  

Elefantman.com / Trick Fixes

Adventure Bike (German)

German Website Photo's




Dumbo Development Labs

REVIEW - 1994 Cagiva E900 Elefant
By Paul Peczon

The E-900 Ducati is something Europeans would easily
understand. It's a super motard, styled after Paris Dakar
racers, with a street survival mission to handle well, even
on badly worn cobbled roads. But I don't think Americans
will understand it, for the same reasons they didn't
understand the TDM850, the Transalp, and the BMW Paris
Dakar. But wait, you say, isn't the Paris Dakar much coveted
and worshipped among the jughead Bimmer crowd? Yes it
is, and this bike will no doubt be greatly admired by the
Duck lovers, and that's who it's for. Never mind the general
population; the E-900 is a bike for the experienced, worldly
rider who wants a supremely capable bike made for the
real life roads. It's for the rugged individualist who wants a
suspension capable of handling even the worst roads, the
ever lovable 900 desmodronic twin engine and fine
precision Brembo brakes.

Before we get into the riding, I should say that I expected it
to be absolutely ignored by the regular citizens of the world.
After all, it just looks like an overgrown dirtbike. Regular
people, as we all know, only admire Harleys and regard
sportbikes with a mixture of fear, rage and condescending
mirth. They think dirtbikes are for kids. Even thought it is tall
and seemingly large, I thought people would ignore it. It is
extremely quiet, once the dry clutch is engaged, and the
graphics are subdued. But I was on it for maybe fifteen
minutes when a guy in a Ferrari Mondial at a stoplight said
"Very nice." I assumed that he just an Italophile, but sure
enough, some grunge rocker at a sandwich shop wanted to
know all about it. The next day, a woman abandoned her
cash register to come out of her store and asked "That's not
Japanese, is it?" I briefly explained the bike, and she
nodded, knowingly. She liked it, an oddity in a world where I
thought women only like bikes with lots of chrome.

But I've said it before, and I mean it; I really don't care what
the general public thinks about my ride. I'd ride a
fluorescent pink Zamboni with "Leif Garrett" painted on the
side if it was fast and handled well. I wouldn't care if it
looked like a early seventies dirt brown Dodge Duster. I'm a
performance guy at heart. This one performs.

The E-900 is big and tall, which means that it has lots of
suspension travel, and the bulk to have composure on
rough surfaces. It eats up bad road like nobody's business.
You can't feel Botts dots, and in fact, you can run over curbs
and barely even feel them. Hell, I went ahead and climbed
stairs with the bike and it felt just fine. There's a lot to be
said for a bike that can clear curbs. In traffic it was tall
enough to easily clear most car mirrors, but trucks became
the problem. I didn't have the bike long enough to learn how
to really abuse it, but I'm sure it would happily run over
errant road trash like mufflers, loose lumber and the ever
popular tire shard.

But the thing of it is, the bike handles extremely well in the
curves. Knowing that pavement ripples don't affect it builds
confidence, and I didn't even think about trying to reach its
ample cornering clearance. Flicking a bike this tall from
side to side in the twisties takes some getting used to, but
it isn't as heavy as it looks, and I've ridden a lot of bikes with
a taller center of gravity. Speaking of tall, I could barely
reach the ground with my 32 inch inseam, but it wasn't too
difficult to balance without touching down. At stop signs, I'd
just stop long enough for the forks to decompress, and zip
off. I didn't have a chance to thoroughly flog the bike for a full
day in the canyons, and believe you me, I'm aiming back.

In keeping with rich Ducati tradition, this bike wheelies on
command in low gears. First gear is especially low, and I'm
pretty sure that the front tire lifts an inch or so at every
stoplight. The power delivery of the big twin offers high
torque low in the revs, and continues fairly smoothly up to
near the redline. This power, geared as low as it is, makes
for fine highway cruising. In the high speed zone the fairing
offers surprisingly nice wind protection. The air hits you on
the upper chest, and your helmet doesn't get much
turbulence. In fact, it's a bike I would tour on and be very

But I'm not so sure I'd do much off road on this one. It's a
little big for trail work, although in more capable hands I'm
sure it could be done ­ with fun. Also, let's not forget that this
bike comes from a history of Cagiva desert racers and is
built with experience as it's starting point. It's a fine capable
bike for the intelligent Aerostitch real world heavy mileage
crowd. - Paul Peczon
1990 900ie Work Shop Manual
1991 900ie GT Work Shop Manual